Annie Hall, Blu-ray (1977/2012)
Cast: Diane Keaton, Woody Allen, Tony Roberts, Paul Simon
Director: Woody Allen
Studio: Fox/MGM [1/24/12]
Video: 1.85:1 for 16:9 1080p HD color
Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio mono, Spanish mono, French mono
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Length: 93 minutes
This, along with his new Midnight in Paris, are probably Woody’s masterpieces. Annie Hall won four Oscars including Best Picture and one critic said in it Allen had completed his journey from comic to humorist.
In it Allen plays Alvy Singer, a successful Manhattan comic, but not doing so well with romance. After being introduced by his tennis-playing best friend, Alvy falls for intellectual, spacy nightclub singer Annie. But Alvy has many insecurities and finally Annie moves on to LA and a music biz mogul played by Paul Simon. Alvy lets nothing prevent his getting back to true love – including even going to LA, which he hates, but it doesn’t necessarily work out. The contrasts of Alvy’s growing up vs. Annie’s WASP background are a source of fine humor. (Alvy was literally brought up under a roller coaster on Coney Island.) Annie’s comment about the sort of Jew Alvy is is not racist, just naive and innocent. The chemistry between worry-about-everything Alvy and loopy Annie is priceless to experience.
The little details of the relationship are beautifully portrayed. In one scene subtitles appear as the two characters’ real thoughts are shown while they’re saying something else to one another. One of the split-screens has each of them at their respective therapists, but was actually shot simultaneously on a set divided down the middle. Both Jeff Goldblum and Christopher Walken have tiny parts. Goldblum represents the whole West Coast craziness when he’s briefly seen on the screen telling someone on the phone “I forgot my mantra.” And Walken, in his first screen role, tells Alvy (before he drives him somewhere) that sometimes he sees the headlights of another car in the other lane and has to fight the urge to turn into the car and crash.
These characters are real people who you might want to get to know, not idiots like in many of today’s films. The Blu-ray transfer is fine, but as usual Allen doesn’t give us any extras. Annie Hall is truly a classic and stands up perfectly well.
If any recording is essential to the genre, this is it.